"Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?YABC.
But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.
RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction."
Let's talk about this book.
It's A Wonderful Death totally reminds me of It's A Wonderful Life, just because of its title. Though the two works of fiction do indeed have a similar title (one word different), they have different themes and meanings. So, no. It isn't exactly for fans of It's A Wonderful Life, a Christmas movie. Not exactly, not completely.
Okay. RJ is a total mean girl. She's the one girl who is always mean to everyone around her, and she is absolutely despicable. (I'm suddenly reminded of myself and my childhood bullies as soon as I read about her.) Some of her actions have been brought upon by peer pressure while other actions have been brought upon by the circumstances. But once she dies and has a second chance to fix those mistakes, RJ totally gets great character development. She changes, and yes, she does change from her evil self to a much better version of herself. And that is totally important. It's nice to see a redemption arc.
The beginning of the story starts off with RJ's snarky commentary. Gosh, she is an absolute riot and her jokes (sarcasm) are just hilarious. I love it very much. Unfortunately, the snark-ism starts dying off towards the middle and the plot turns very serious and a tiny bit dark. It explores the large consequences of a seemingly small action on a person. And like what Clarence from It's A Wonderful Life said, a single person affects a lot of people. (No, that isn't an exact quote. You may look it up for the word-for-word quote on IMDB.)
The end of the book is definitely one of the most surprising plot twist of all times. Yes, it is unpredictable, but the way the author ends the book is very satisfying indeed. I absolutely love it, and RJ does get the redemption arc she deserves.
The theme of the book is wonderful. That's all I have to say for it.
The world building is a bit intriguing, but I wish that the author explains more of it. I get that most of the plot twists are built upon what the readers don't know, but I don't exactly like the way I'm held and pulled along by the nose.
Overall, It's A Wonderful Death is an unexpected, wonderful, and fascinating tale of a mean girl who is undergoing her redemption arc. This is definitely the kind of book that'll keep you reading long after your break is up.
Rating: Four out of Five